As digital transformation continues, traditional tethers to the central office have all but vanished. Physical boundaries continue to blur, and many organisations require constant and dependable in-vehicle connectivity to keep up with changing business imperatives.

Dependable mobile connectivity keeps vehicles on the road longer, says Hubert Da Costa, VP EMEA at Cradlepoint, and helps enterprises better manage their fleets and serve their customers.

Transportation presents connectivity challenges not found in a traditional office environment. Travelling along bumpy roads, traversing service areas, and powering devices using a vehicle battery are factors requiring special consideration and planning. 4G LTE networking solutions are one of the most reliable, secure and cost-effective means to ensure always-on connectivity for vehicles.

They can also simple to implement and manage — if you have the right solution. A full solution should include cloud management, network security, and be purpose-built for harsh conditions on the road like vibration and splash. Another consideration is anticipated usage. A comprehensive solution needs to be found to extend a reliable enterprise network to the road.

Beyond simple connectivity

Organisations deploy network connectivity in fleet vehicles for a range of business functions. It can support data entry and allow credit card payments to be processed immediately. Internet of Things (IoT) systems make it possible to automatically update and track inventory.

GPS tracking gives businesses the ability to do more than identify the locations of their fleet vehicles; businesses can monitor stops, watch for unnecessary trips and mileage, and recognise safe drivers – all from a remote location using cloud-based software. With constant mobile connectivity, vehicles can deploy digital signage that can be configured and updated in real-time from a remote location, whether for entertainment, advertising or security purposes.

For enterprises and public sector agencies with security concerns, video-streaming capability offers the advantage of real-time surveillance. This makes it possible to monitor security from a remote location and alert authorities immediately should problems arise.

First responders and emergency services also use mission-critical mobile connectivity to monitor, analyse, and diagnose patients on the road. Paramedics can access vital information and update records immediately, while law enforcement officers use secure connectivity to check drivers’ licenses and vehicle registrations, and file digital incident reports in real time.

For buses, coaches and other commercial passenger vehicles, 4G connectivity provides a number of useful features. Today’s commuters and leisure travellers want Internet access almost as much as they want a seat and on-time arrival. Offering guest Wi-Fi is simply part and parcel of creating a good passenger experience. Rolling enterprises must be able to offer commuters heightened productivity while blocking undesirable content and managing bandwidth usage.

In both the public and private sector, it is no longer acceptable to have network downtime in vehicles. Organisations rely too heavily on connectivity to run all manners of operations, from life-saving tasks to meeting customer service objectives. This means, it is now more important than ever to ensure in-vehicle connectivity is as dependable and reliable as possible.

In part 2 I’ll discuss the challenges and best practices of connected vehicles, and how to ensure network reliability and security.

The author of this blog is Hubert Da Costa, VP EMEA at Cradlepoint

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